Push ups – different variations, their benefits and why they are the best exercise to do (Part 1)

Almost everyone loves certain exercises more than other exercises. For me, that’s push ups.

It probably started with martial arts when I was younger, that was a big part of my life for a very long time. But we would do a lot of push ups while training. I love them. But there’s also so many different types of push ups as well.

From regular push ups to clap push ups, to diamond push ups. There’s a push up for everyone at any skill level. Whether you want fast paced high intensity, or slower paced push ups. There are so many different types of push ups.

Types of push ups…

  • Standard push up
  • Single leg push up
  • Side to side push up
  • Medicine ball push up
  • Planche push up
  • Shoulder tap push up
  • Staggered push up
  • Plyo push up
  • Handstand push up
  • Close grip push up
  • Hindu push up
  • One-handed push up
  • Wall push up
  • Superman push up
  • Archer push up
  • Spiderman push up
  • Pike push up
  • Clap push up
  • Decline push up
  • Incline push up
  • Wide grip push up
  • Diamond push up

Standard push up

A standard push up is done by being on the floor on all fours. Hands are placed just slightly wider than shoulder width, legs stretched out with your feet hip width apart so you’re balanced on your hands and toes. With your head tilted slightly upwards you bend your elbows, lowering yourself until your chest is about an inch off the ground. Then you push yourself back up to max height, without locking your elbows.

A standard push up works the chest, back and front of the shoulder, the triceps and of course the core. You can’t do a proper push up without activating the core.

Single leg push up

To do a single leg push up, you get yourself into the standard push up position. Then you gently lift one foot into the air so it’s in a straight line with your back and glutes. Keeping your body straight and square, not allowing the lifted leg to roll out, lower your body by bending at the elbows. Lower until your chest is about an inch off the ground, and push back up again. Make sure to switch legs between sets or reps, this allows for an even workout throughout the body.

A single leg push up works your chest, back of the shoulders, front of the shoulder, triceps and the core.

Side to side push up

Start off in your standard push up position again. This time as you lower your body, you move it over to one side. Your chest will almost be directly over your hand by the time you’re fully lowered. Then raise your body again, and repeat the movement going to the opposite side.

The side to side push up works your chest, back and front of your shoulders, triceps, traps and you’re core. This variation of the push up works the shoulders more than the standard push up.

Medicine ball push up

For this push up you will place both hands on top of a medicine ball and extend your legs out, leaning on your toes. Bending your elbows, lower your body so your chest is just above the medicine ball and then raise to the top again.

These push ups are a full body workout. They target the chest, back and front of the shoulders, triceps and core as well as your glutes and hamstrings.

Planche push up

A planche push up is much more advance, requiring a lot more strength and control. You place your hands on the floor by your waistline, just above your hips. Push yourself upwards and lean your weight forward as you do. Then use your core strength to lift your feet and legs off the ground. Once you’ve got this position, bending your elbows; lower yourself to the ground until your chest is about an inch above it and then push yourself back up. Keeping your legs and lower body raised the entire time.

Planche push ups work your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps and forearms. These particular push ups definitely help to increase your core muscles as well as your balance and stabilizer muscles.

Shoulder tap push up

To perform a shoulder tap push up you will start in the standard push up position. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest is about an inch off the ground. Push back up, then lift your right hand and tap your left shoulder. Then repeat, alternating arm to shoulder each time.

These push ups work mostly your arms, chest and shoulders while also working your core muscles.

Staggered push up

The staggered push up you should start in the standard push up position. Then move one hand forward a couple of inches, the other hand slightly out to the side. Lower your body until your chest is about an inch off the ground and then push yourself back up. Repeat. Switch arms between each set to work both sides evenly.

This form focuses mostly on your chest, shoulders and core while also slightly working your triceps.

Plyo push up

Plyo push ups are another advance type of pushup. Start off in the standard push up position, lower your body so your chest is about an inch off the ground. With this one as you push up, you push with enough force that your when you reach the top your hands leave the ground. Like your jumping with your hands, then lower again as you land and repeat.

This type of push up is great for working your chest, triceps, shoulders and core. It’s also a great way to burn fat and calories as well as build muscle.

Handstand push up

This is an extremely advance push up and can be very intimidating, it’s certainly not for beginners. This will take time to be able to do.

First, face a wall in a standing position. Place your hands on the ground and kick your feet up, putting you into a handstand against a wall. (you will need to start against a wall until you have mastered it). Then while upside down like that, lower your body as far as you can before pushing back up.

This is an incredible strength exercise for your upper body and your core. It also helps with your balancing muscles and will definitely help with muscle definition.

We will end the first part here, there are so many variations of push ups. It really is, in my opinion, the best exercise someone can do. Whether you want to just gain strength, fitness, burn fat, build muscle, gain muscle definition or increase muscular endurance; there’s a variation for anything you want.

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